Durban - The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has commended the Sharks rugby team for their appointment on Tuesday of Lubabalo Mtembu as the team's first black captain.
"The decision to appoint Mtembu is a clear sign that the Sharks rugby team is serious about the transformation of the sport which has been one of the thorny issues since the advent our democratic dispensation in 1994," African National Congress provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said in a statement.
"It is an irrefutable truth that despite government's unyielding attempts to transform the sport in South Africa in the past 20 years, we are still struggling with a skewed and unequal sporting landscape."
The 23-year-old, better known as Tera, will lead the side during the defence of their Currie Cup crown.
The loose forward came through the Sharks Academy ranks, before making his Super Rugby and Currie Cup debuts in 2012.
Mtembu's impressive leadership qualities led to Sharks director of rugby Jake White handing him the captaincy duties often during this year's Vodacom Cup.
Mtembu said he looked forward to the challenge ahead of him.
"It is a great honour and privilege to be entrusted with the responsibility of leading a world-renowned team such as the Sharks," Mtembu said.
"I thank our CEO (John Smit), director of rugby, and the rest of our coaching staff for believing in me and for affording me this opportunity.
"I know that I will have the support and backing of our coaching staff, younger players, and the senior group of players in our squad.
"As a team we will work together to ensure that we reach the goals we set out for ourselves in this year's competition."
Zikalala said the decision to appoint Mtembu inspired the hope that "one day South Africa will have a completely transformed sport that make every South African proud".
"We congratulate Mtembu and wish him all the best in this critical task and we urge his team-mates to give him all the support he requires," Zikalala said.
"The ANC also commends and applauds the Sharks management for the bold step they have taken and we urge other teams to follow suit."